Hannah Engel

Hannah Engel, BSN, RN, BMTCN

Bone Marrow Transplant
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, Ohio
United States
she took the time to play peek a boo and other games with him

Hannah has brightened our longest and darkest days with her presence. When we see her walk through the door at 7am at the start of her shift, we know we are going to have a smooth day. Our first experience with Hannah was on our son's stem cell transplant day. We were nervous on his big day, but Hannah made sure everything ran smoothly. He had an unexpected complication with his heart shortly after the stem cell infusion. She was diligent in monitoring him, contacting doctors and charge nurses, and advocating for my son. She explained why she was monitoring him closely, but she stayed calm in order to help us stay calm. She communicated clearly with the doctors which led to prompt procedures and tests, to prevent more serious consequences. We were fortunate enough to have Hannah as our nurse the following day too. Luckily, the day was uneventful, but she took the time to play peek a boo and other games with him. She made getting medicines and mouth care fun for him. She just went above and beyond for him and us (his parents) like no other nurse had done. We have been fortunate enough to have Hannah almost every week for a few days as our nurse, and we just can't say enough about how great she is. Even on days when she is not assigned to him, she will stop by our room to say hi to him and make him laugh. It is important to us that the nurse be hardworking and skilled, which Hannah is, however she has gone the extra step to form a warm-hearted bond with our son, which is the icing on the cake. He will smile for Hannah on days that he feels bad, even when we (mom and dad) can't get him to smile. It is evident that Hannah truly loves her job and cares for her patients. We have experienced a lot of nurses at CCHMC during our 2 month stay in the ICU and the BMT units, and Hannah is by far the best nurse in the hospital that has cared for our son.
As previously stated, Hannah goes beyond treating him with medications, vitals, and other procedures. She spends extra time playing games with him. She makes sure to make him smile at least once even on days when he is having a bad day. She picks up on the little things. When he was having a lot of vomiting from chemo, she noticed that he liked to bang on the basin (before using it to catch vomit) as a drum. She spoke to child life and was able to find a toy drum for him to play with, and he lit up with joy! Not only has she made a special connection with him, but she has bonded with us (parents) as well. She socializes with us and helps us feel like we are less in a hospital. We can talk about normal life things with her to help pass the time. She has also proven to be highly skilled in the nursing field, which helps ease our anxiety as we can trust that she will take excellent care of our son.
Since Hannah has years of experience as a BMT nurse, she has been great at educating us on what to expect through the transplant journey. Specifically, our son got a rare, severe complication after transplant called thrombotic microangiopathy. Hannah was able to relay from past experience, information regarding typical course for the complication and specific information about the medication used to treat the complication. Through giving us this accurate information, she was able to make us feel as comfortable as possible while our child was going through this horrible complication. Additionally, when he has been deteriorating, she taught us signs to watch for which would require prompt medical attention. For example, when he was first diagnosed with his complication, she told us to monitor his breathing and irritability. By knowing to watch for these symptoms, we were able to catch a fluid overload problem early, to stop it from progressing to something more serious. He also obtained some wounds on his abdomen after frequent dressing changes to a drain site during his stay in the ICU. Hannah ordered a wound care nurse consult and together, she and the wound care nurse formulated a plan. Hannah showed us how to properly perform the wound care with ointments and dressings so that we could do so with every diaper change. She made learning this routine simple so that we could easily give him the best care.  She has gone above her written nursing duties to be there for his comfort.
Hannah discusses her plan and goals for our son at the start of every day. She asks for our input and openly welcomes any suggestions we may have. She has offered to be our advocate for our son to the doctors to ensure the best care for him. For example, due to his small size, most of his IV medications have to be run over 2 hours so he has about 16-18 hours of scheduled medications per day. This leaves very limited time for transfusions, especially if he needs platelet and blood transfusions on the same day. We suggested drawing his labs earlier than 4am to determine his transfusion need early enough to give platelets or blood overnight if needed, as he has a small 3-hour window overnight. Hannah was open to discussing this idea with the doctors, as usually the BMT unit does not like to transfuse overnight unless emergent. However, Hannah was able to explain the benefits of this plan with his doctors and they were on board. This plan has continued and has proven very beneficial for our son.